Notes from Jan

Unpacking Takes Time

July 1, 2017

The laundry sloshes as I write, washing away the grime of travel.

Putting away the stuff brought along or accumulated during three weeks away takes little effort; unpacking lessons, significant moments takes time.

As is my habit, I brought along books to read and leave behind, like breadcrumbs for thought.

Real books.

I’m old.

A small booklet, I’d brought along, Blessed are the Peacemakers by Wendell Berry remained unread until my flight from Dublin to Boston on Sunday.  It slipped easily into my purse, something to ponder besides where’s the nearest restroom,  what’s for lunch or is it me or are these seats getting smaller ?

Berry’s book focuses on Christ’s teachings in the four Gospels on love, compassion and forgiveness.    He poses uncomfortable questions,”If you had been living in Jesus’s time and had heard His teachings, would you have been one of His followers?” 

As for the story of the Good Samaritan (Jews and Samaritans were enemies), Berry updates the parable by suggesting,”…substitute any other pair of enemies: fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli, captor and prisoner, then ask, “Who is my neighbor?”

Berry’s answer and Christ’s challenge, “Your neighbor is any sufferer who needs your help.”

So much unpacking still to do.




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  • Reply Barrie July 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    A lovely contemplation, still thinking about it.

  • Reply susan July 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    welcome home!

  • Reply Dan Russ July 2, 2017 at 12:51 am

    You give me more to unpack–thanks!

  • Reply Maggie Rowe July 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Continue unpacking, Jan, the contents of your thoughts are of great value to the rest of us.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold July 5, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you Jan for this piece. Andrew and I just moved back to the area and we are still unpacking, as you can imagine! It’s always nice to share experiences with those around us. Thank you for your thoughts on who our neighbors are, regardless of our beliefs.

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